Dave's Landslide Blog

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12 posts · 16,135 views

This blog provides a commentary on landslide events occurring worldwide, including the landslides themselves, latest research and conferences and meetings.

Dr Dave
12 posts

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  • October 25, 2010
  • 04:28 PM
  • 985 views

Landslides, forests and pandas - conservation and the Wenchuan earthquake

by Dr Dave in Dave's Landslide Blog

The vast number of  landslides triggered by the May 2008 Wenchuan earthquake, and in its aftermath has been extensively described, not least on this blog.  One of the documented impacts of these landslides was the well-documented loss of habitat of the giant panda (A. melanoleuca) due to extensive forest loss.  However, there is a great deal more to that story than meets the eye, as a newly-published paper by Vina et al (2010) describes.  The research is very interesting, and........ Read more »

  • April 23, 2010
  • 04:47 AM
  • 1,077 views

On morbidity and mortality in landslide disasters

by Dr Dave in Dave's Landslide Blog

Landslides kill thousands of people each year across the world but, strangely, there are very few studies of the causes of the injuries and deaths that people suffer when they are affected by a landslide. This contrasts with avalanches, which has a long track publication history of causes of mortality.  This is important in the context of treatment of victims - in particular, where a rescue is ongoing, the medical practitioners need to be able to prepare for the likely state of those who mi........ Read more »

  • December 19, 2009
  • 08:57 PM
  • 1,324 views

On the perils of Lake Sarez (Usoi) in Tajikistan

by Dr Dave in Dave's Landslide Blog

Science this week has an article (Stone 2009) on the perils associated with Lake Sarez in the Pamirs. Sarez is a huge lake (56 km long and with a volume of 17 billion cubic metres of water) that was formed by a landslide triggered by the 1911 earthquake in Tajikistan (see image below).Google Earth image of Lake Sarez. The landslide dam is to west (left).Google Earth image of the landslide dam at Usoi. The source of the landslide was to the north of the current deposit.The landslide dam (see i........ Read more »

Stone, R. (2009) Peril in the Pamirs. Science, 326(5960), 1614-1617. DOI: 10.1126/science.326.5960.1614  

  • November 28, 2009
  • 08:43 AM
  • 1,383 views

The link between rainfall intensity and global temperature

by Dr Dave in Dave's Landslide Blog

The aftermath of a landslide in Taiwan caused by very heavy rainfallOne of the most interesting aspects of the global landslide database that we maintain at Durham is the way in which it has highlighted the importance of rainfall intensity in the triggering of fatal landslides. Generally speaking, to kill people a landslide needs to move quickly rapid, and rapid landslides appear to be primarily (but note not always) triggered by intense rainfall events (indeed in the reports the term "cloudbur........ Read more »

Liu, S., Fu, C., Shiu, C., Chen, J., & Wu, F. (2009) Temperature dependence of global precipitation extremes. Geophysical Research Letters, 36(17). DOI: 10.1029/2009GL040218  

  • November 21, 2009
  • 12:19 PM
  • 1,262 views

A very large ancient rockslide in Chile

by Dr Dave in Dave's Landslide Blog

I am en route to Santiago in Chile to attend the Chilean Geological Congress, the organisers of which kindly invited me to give one of the keynote lectures (on Friday). I thought therefore that I would point out that Chile has an extraordinary set of very large rock avalanches. Earlier this year, Antinao and Gosse (2009) published an interesting review of a set in the Chilean Cordillera Principal. I do not intend to publish a full review of the paper here, but thought I would highlight just on........ Read more »

  • November 1, 2009
  • 04:53 PM
  • 1,089 views

A very surprising paper - movement of a landslide controlled by atmospheric tides

by Dr Dave in Dave's Landslide Blog

Just occasionally a paper appears that makes me sit up with surprise, with a strong sense of "I did not see that one coming!". Just such a paper has appeared in pre-publication form in Nature Geoscience today - namely Schultz et al. (2009). This will undoubtedly represent the most surprising landslide paper of the year, and indeed for a few years in fact. I suspect that this paper will generate a fair amount of media interest in the next few days as well.The subject of the paper is the Slumgu........ Read more »

Schulz, W.H., Kean, J.W and Wang, G. (2009) Landslide movement in southwest Colorado triggered by atmospheric tides. Nature Geoscience. info:/10.1038/NGEO65

  • September 13, 2009
  • 01:20 AM
  • 1,317 views

On the loss of life in landslides during the 1949 Khait earthquake

by Dr Dave in Dave's Landslide Blog

Regular readers will know that one of my interests lies in trying to get a better understanding of the loss of life associated with landslides. A key realisation of this work for me has been that earthquake-triggered slides cause a very substantial proportional (probably in fact the majority) of fatalities is mass movement events. Unfortunately our understanding of seismically-driven landslides, and their impacts, remains poor, certainly in comparison with rainfall induced slides. For that r........ Read more »

  • September 3, 2009
  • 03:44 PM
  • 1,402 views

On the dangers of Rhododendrons!

by Dr Dave in Dave's Landslide Blog

Rhododendrons are one of those plants that, when planted well, can create an amazing garden:(from: http://www.kelleriisgaarden.dk/rhododendron-eng.html)However, it might surprise you to hear that they can be a major cause of landslides. As the image below shows, rhododendrons are increasingly grown on the mountain slopes of the Appalachians:(from: http://toursinthesmokymountains.com/SmokyMountainsInDepth.aspx)As well as creating a somewhat beautiful landscape, rhododendrons have been grown in t........ Read more »

Hales, T., Ford, C., Hwang, T., Vose, J., & Band, L. (2009) Topographic and ecologic controls on root reinforcement. Journal of Geophysical Research, 114(F3). DOI: 10.1029/2008JF001168  

  • March 6, 2009
  • 05:27 PM
  • 1,556 views

The role of landslides in global warming

by Dr Dave in Dave's Landslide Blog

A rather extraordinary paper has just been published in Geophysical Research Letters about landslides triggered by the Wenchuan (Sichuan) earthquake. Why is it extraordinary - well, let me quote from the abstract. The paper suggests that the landslides caused destruction of vegetation such that "the cumulative CO2 release to the atmosphere over the coming decades is comparable to that caused by hurricane Katrina 2005 (~105 Tg) and equivalent to ~2% of current annual carbon emissions from globa........ Read more »

Diandong Ren, Jiahu Wang, Rong Fu, David J. Karoly, Yang Hong, Lance M. Leslie, Congbin Fu, & Gang Huang. (2009) Mudslide-caused ecosystem degradation following Wenchuan earthquake 2008. Geophysical Research Letters, 36(5). DOI: 10.1029/2008GL036702  

  • February 25, 2009
  • 03:52 AM
  • 1,578 views

A new mechanism for landslide initiation

by Dr Dave in Dave's Landslide Blog

It is not often that one reads a paper and finds a new and exotic landslide mechanism being suggested. I was somewhat surprised yesterday to find that in a paper just published in Geomorphology, Steve Evans and his co-authors have done just that. Although it requires further research, the mechanism is intriguing and undoubtedly has some very interesting implications for glacial hazard management as well.The origin of the theory is the extraordinary Kolka Glacier landslide of 22nd September 200........ Read more »

Stephen G. Evans, Olga V. Tutubalina, Valery N. Drobyshev, Sergey S. Chernomorets, Scott McDougall, Dmitry A. Petrakov, & Oldrich Hungr. (2009) Catastrophic detachment and high-velocity long-runout flow of Kolka Glacier, Caucasus Mountains, Russia in 2002. Geomorphology, 105(3-4), 314-321. DOI: 10.1016/j.geomorph.2008.10.008  

Stephen G. Evans, Olga V. Tutubalina, Valery N. Drobyshev, Sergey S. Chernomorets, Scott McDougall, Dmitry A. Petrakov, & Oldrich Hungr. (2009) Catastrophic detachment and high-velocity long-runout flow of Kolka Glacier, Caucasus Mountains, Russia in 2002. Geomorphology, 105(3-4), 314-321. DOI: 10.1016/j.geomorph.2008.10.008  

Stephen G. Evans, Olga V. Tutubalina, Valery N. Drobyshev, Sergey S. Chernomorets, Scott McDougall, Dmitry A. Petrakov, & Oldrich Hungr. (2009) Catastrophic detachment and high-velocity long-runout flow of Kolka Glacier, Caucasus Mountains, Russia in 2002. Geomorphology, 105(3-4), 314-321. DOI: 10.1016/j.geomorph.2008.10.008  

  • February 9, 2009
  • 04:48 AM
  • 1,560 views

Australian wildfires and risks of increased erosion rates

by Dr Dave in Dave's Landslide Blog

The extraordinary wildfires in Australia are dominating the headlines in the UK, half a world away. Wildfires are quite common events, but the number of fatalities that this particular episode has caused is really quite unusual. Below in Figure 1 I have plotted the recorded worldwide recorded number of deaths from wildfires for the period since 1980, using data from the CRED EM-DAT database . I have added the 131 reported deaths from this event so far as an extra column, although note that r........ Read more »

  • January 11, 2009
  • 04:11 PM
  • 1,602 views

Future British seasonal precipitation extremes - implications for landslides

by Dr Dave in Dave's Landslide Blog

One of the great questions of the age is of course the ways in which climate change will affect the weather patterns that we are likely to see in the future. In the case of landslides the key issue is the ways in which precipitation patterns will alter, especially the most intensive rainfall events that are responsible for many of the most damaging landslides. One of the most significant steps forward over the last few years has been the ability of global climate models to handle these extreme........ Read more »

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